While the glow of the 2010 cyclocross season has not yet faded, most of cyclocross’ elite have settled into their off-season road careers. None have settled in faster than Lars Boom, who achieved a major milestone in his road career at the Paris-Nice stage race. Jesse Anthony, too, has found his feet on the road scene after some bad luck in the last cyclocross season. Meanwhile, Erwin Vervecken and Tim Johnson have been doing some great work off the bike.
Lars Boom Wears Paris-Nice Yellow Jersey
Former Cyclocross World Champion Lars Boom showed off this weekend why he is also a former Dutch Road Race and Time Trial National Champion in this week’s French eight day stage race, Paris-Nice. The race, affectionately known as the Race to the Sun, for its tendency to start in less than desirable conditions and ride to more favorable weather, started on Sunday with an eight kilometer prologue time trial. Boom bested some of the world’s best time trialists – such as Astana’s double Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, American Levi Leipheimer, British prologue specialists Bradley Wiggins and David Millar, and a host of other champions – en route to the prologue victory. Thanks to his victory, Boom donned the yellow leader’s jersey, the green sprinter’s jersey, the polka-dotted climber’s jersey and the white young rider’s jersey.
On stage one, Boom signaled that he was in no rush to relinquish his hold on the overall leader’s jersey, managing to grab third place in the day’s two intermediate sprints. While he may not be the world’s best sprinter, Boom was able to take the two third places, and the one bonus second each, out of the peloton, as first and second place were taken by a two man breakaway. Boom also proved that he was one of the talents to watch for the rest of the season, as he managed to get himself ahead of a critical split in the peloton, when the March winds allowed fifteen riders to create a seventeen second gap over the rest of the field. Overall threats such as Contador were forced to concede time to the young Dutchman thanks to his quick thinking and determination. To further add to Boom’s accomplishment, the rider was seen crossing the gap without the help of his teammates.
Stage two again saw Boom hold on to the overall leader’s jersey, despite losing the climber’s jersey and the sprinter’s jersey. Boom safely managed to finish with the pack, and assured himself another day in yellow. Stage three saw Boom’s run in yellow come to an end, when Irishman Nicolas Roche escaped in the day’s final kilometers, accompanied by second placed Jens Voigt. Boom lost 27 seconds to Voigt and gave up his hold on the overall lead. Boom dropped from first to sixth overall, only twenty seconds behind Voigt. Boom’s loss also dropped him down to third on the Best Young Rider overall standings, fourteen seconds behind Liquigas’ Peter Sagan, winner of stage three.
Anthony Wins Stage Four of Tour of Luzon
Jesse Anthony, a multiple time National Champion, got his road season off to a flying start at the Tour of Luzon, an eight stage tour that takes place in the Philippines and covers many of the same routes that the now defunct Marlboro Tour covered years ago. Stage four was an eighty kilometer criterium event, which Anthony covered in 1:54:34 en route to his victory. Anthony benefited from strong teamwork from his Kelly Benefits Strategies teammates, as the team featured four riders out of the seven that made up the day’s winning move. Anthony opened up his sprint from about 300 meters out, and easily held off the chasing competition. This is not the first time that Anthony has found success on the international stage, as he won the King of the Mountains jersey at last year’s Tour of Taiwan.
Vervecken Rides Into Retirement Sunset With Golazo
Three time World Champion Erwin Vervecken recently drew the final curtain on what was one of the most successful cyclocross careers in history. Vervecken won’t be outside of the cyclocross for long, as on April 2nd, he will join the sports marketing firm Golazo Sports. Vervecken will join the event production staff of the marketing firm, helping manage the organization of mountain bike and cyclocross events. Vervecken will be in charge invitations and interfacing with team managers and riders to ensure the grandest spectacle possible for Golazo backed races. Currently, Golazo helps to produce races contained in the Gazet van Antwerpen Trofee series as well as the Fidea Jaarmarktcross and the Fidea Cyclocross Tervuren. No doubt Vervecken will have his hands full when he trades in his skinsuit for a business suit.
Tim Johnson in Washington, DC for the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit
American Cyclocross Champion Tim Johnson took some time off from his busy road schedule this week to head to Washington, DC for the League of American Bicyclists’ National Bike Summit. The summit, which was held for its tenth time over the past three days, brings together bicycle activists from across the country to discuss bicycle advocacy. Johnson was a featured guest of the summit, and is arguably one of the most influential cyclists in the country. The purpose of the 2010 summit is to set national goals for the advancement of cycling with a target year set for the year 2020.
Wondering what your favorite mudders have been up to? Doing your homework so you can win Cyclocross Magazine’s fantasy cyclocross league next season? We’ve got you covered with our new, weekly report on your favorite top ‘crossers. Each week Jake Sisson will bring you the latest news, gossip and maybe even a tweet or two on the pro scene. This is installment #37. Installment #36 is here. Got something worth reporting? Let us know!